Retiree health insurance changes, requires action

8/18/2012

As approved this year at Annual Conference, the North Georgia Conference will be partnering with Extend Health, Inc., to provide Conference retirees with a choice of Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage Plans. The current coverage through HealthFlex will come to an end in December of this year.
 In order to prevent a lapse in coverage, retirees must enroll in the new plan during the open enrollment period Oct. 8 through Dec. 31.
 "We know that this action represents a major change for retirees and we welcome your questions," said Karen Fullerton, Conference Benefits Officer.
 Below is helpful information on Extend Health and Health Reimbursement Account amounts. More information will be mailed to retirees over the next few weeks. 
How can retirees learn more?
 Educational sessions will be held on August 29 and 30 to explain your plan options, covered benefits, and the enrollment process. Below are details of these sessions. In September, you will also have access to Extend Health’s toll free phone number, website, and Benefit Advisors. South Georgia will have the same education sessions on August 27 and 28. North Georgia's schedule is below:
 Wed, Aug.  29
9:00 a.m. – Hampton UMC, 10 West Main, Hampton
2:00 p.m.  – Washington First UMC, 102 W Liberty St., Washington
7:00 p.m.  – North Decatur UMC, 1523 Church St., Decatur
Thu, Aug. 30 
9:00 a.m.  – Gainesville First UMC, 2780 Thompson Bridge Rd., Gainesville
2:00 p.m.  – Adairsville UMC, 102 S. Main St., Adairsville
7:00 p.m.  – Douglasville First UMC, 6167 Prestley Mill Rd., Douglasville
 Who is Extend Health?
Extend Health is the industry’s leading private Medicare exchange, serving more than 300,000 Medicare eligible retirees. Their Licensed Benefits Advisors help retirees select the private Medicare plan that best meets their medical needs and budget with personalized, knowledgeable and professional assistance. The Benefits Advisors do not sell any products and they are not  paid on commission. They are there to assist you in finding the plan that works best for you.
 How will it work?
This change applies to retirees, their covered spouses, and surviving spouses entitled to Medicare Parts A and B (participants must have Medicare Parts A and B to participate), as well as disabled clergy who are Medicare-eligible because of age (65 or older) or disability. Extend Health is sending a Getting Started Guide in August. Simply follow the instructions in the Getting Started Guide to make an appointment with an Extend Health Benefit Advisor to start the enrollment process and get answers to any questions you might have. Feel free to share this information with those who might assist you in making important decisions - your spouse, your child, or a trusted friend. They may also participate in any phone call with Extend Health. Do not be surprised if the Benefit Advisor asks you some personal questions to help you select a plan that is right for you. Information to have handy for your call:
 •        The name of your doctor to make sure he or she is in the network you select.
•        The medications you might be taking to make sure they recommend a plan that gives you the best deal on your prescription drugs.
•        Do you travel much? Extend Health will want to know as this helps them suggest plans that will meet your medical needs wherever you might be.
 Will there be flexibility to choose any healthcare insurance plan?
When it comes to choosing an insurance plan, the decision is yours. However, choosing the right plan requires a little education and comparison shopping. Remember, Extend Health is here to help you find the plan that fits your lifestyle and help you through the enrollment process. A toll-free number will be provided in the Getting Started Guide and you can ask the Benefit Advisor any questions you have regarding your coverage options.
 During the Extend Health enrollment period beginning October 8 and going through December 31, 2012 retirees may choose to enroll in:
 •        Medigap (Medicare supplement) medical coverage that fills the “gaps” in your existing Medicare Parts A and B coverage, PLUS Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage; or
•        Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare PPO and HMO plans); and
•        Dental and/or vision plans.
 If you are married and your covered spouse is not yet 65 years of age, he or she will be maintained in the current active HealthFlex plan as sponsored by the North Georgia Conference.
 Will the North Georgia Conference pay for all or some portion of the premium?
Retirees enrolled in plans through Extend Health will receive a North Georgia Conference sponsored Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) established on their behalf. Retirees with 35 or more years of service and all those retired prior to 1/1/2005 will receive an HRA contribution of $300 per month, or $3,600 per year. For those retired since 1/1/2005, contact an advisor to learn about HRA contributions. HRA contributions shall also apply to the clergy person’s covered spouse, surviving spouse, or dependent children up to the limit of two HRAs per family. Retirees can use the HRA contributions to pay monthly premiums and/or other eligible out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.
For more information, contact Karen Fullerton at 678.533.1382 or kfullerton@ngumc.org.
 


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